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Fantasy Football: Week 3 waiver wire

09.23.14 at 10:19 am ET
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Welcome to the Week 3 waiver wire! Hopefully you are here looking for the talent you need to get to 4-0, but we’ve got your back whether you are fighting for playoff positioning or for your fantasy life. I’ve got teams in both situations right now, thanks to all the injuries and legal tribulations so far in 2014.

The byes hit this week, and we’ve got you covered. There are a lot of hot teams taking a rest this week.

Get ahead of the curve and make your moves early. This is not a week to wait. There are a few very appealing options out there like Jordan Matthews and Donald Brown. Get in on it.

As I said last week, the ownership percentages are listed for each player. The rates of ownership are based on Yahoo! leagues, which tend to be smaller and more representative of the 10-team leagues most of us play in. Obviously, these numbers are mostly for perspective. What really matters is which players are available in your particular league, and you’ll need to do the legwork on that. If you play in really big leagues, as I tend to do, you should head on over to Rotobahn later and check out my expanded wire. The expanded edition gives you about twice as many options. To keep pace with all WEEI and Rotobahn fantasy football content, including Sunday chats and The Fantasy Football Hour with my good buddy Jim Hackett, follow me on Twitter.

QUARTERBACKS

Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers — 76 percent

He’s the most available of the obvious guys. Grab him if he’s there in your league. The Steelers have the offense in about-to-click mode. Things are looking good if they can get and stay healthy.

Kirk Cousins, Washington — 48 percent

He might not be a long-term solution, but then again, maybe he is. Robert Griffin III will be out at least another six weeks and probably a few more. Whether he is handed his job back is potentially debatable depending on how Cousins plays and if the team is winning. We all saw Cousins’ potential last week. He can be your starter in large leagues and he makes a fine QB2 in smaller ones.

Eli Manning, Giants — 37 percent

He stepped up last week and he could get Odell Beckham, Jr. back soon. I am buying Eli shares right now because they are ungodly cheap and because the Giants‘ schedule gets plenty light in the coming weeks.

Blake Bortles, Jaguars — 5 percent

He plays behind a bad offensive line, so don’t get too excited. He also has too many injuries to his receivers and to TE Marcedes Lewis as well. Bortles’ fantasy intrigue largely is due to his mobility. He can get you foot-points if the coaching staff gives him the green light as it should. If you are not familiar with Bortles, check out my scouting report on the former UCF star.

Teddy Bridgewater, Vikings — 4 percent

I’d say he’s a potential breakout, but he lost two incredibly crucial cogs while he was waiting for his chance to start. Adrian Peterson would have been a huge benefit for a young quarterback, and, to make matters worse, he lost his starting tight end last week for more than a month with an ankle injury. Bridgewater is a guy to add if you need some QB help, but he’s got fringe QB1 upside at best right now with such a limited supporting cast. On the positive front, the Vikings’ schedule lightens up going forward.

Mike Glennon, Buccaneers — 1 percent

He could be the guy for the rest of the year, and that could be worth getting excited about if Vincent Jackson‘s wrist injury proves to be something he can play through. The Bucs have been playing without their offensive coordinator so far this season, but they get him and Doug Martin back this week. That’s very positive news.

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Read More: Ben Roethlisberger, Blake Bortles, Eli Manning, Kirk Cousins

In Focus: Charting offensive opportunities for Patriots skill position players

09.23.14 at 9:30 am ET
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Every week, we list the Patriots’€™€™ “offensive touches,”€€ a running tally of which one of the offensive skill position players is getting the most looks. Like our weekly look at targets, it can occasionally be an inexact stat, but it remains a good barometer of how confident the coaches (and quarterback) are when it comes to the skill position players at their disposal. Here’€™€™s a breakdown of the 2014 New England offense after three games:

RB Stevan Ridley: 55 (52 carries, 3 catches), 4 negative runs
RB Shane Vereen: 30 (20 carries, 10 catches) 1 negative catch
WR Julian Edelman: 26 (4 carries, 22 catches)
TE Rob Gronkowski: 11 (11 catches)
RB Brandon Bolden: 9 (8 carries, 1 catch), 1 negative run
WR Kenbrell Thompkins: 6 (6 catches)
QB Tom Brady: 5 (5 carries), 7 sacks, 3 kneeldowns
WR Brandon LaFell: 4 (4 catches)
WR Danny Amendola: 3 (3 catches)
TE Tim Wright: 3 (3 catches)
FB James Develin: 2 (2 catches)
WR Aaron Dobson: 1 (1 catch)
TE Michael Hoomanawanui 1 (1 catch)

Notes: The Patriots had six negative plays from scrimmage on Sunday, a season-high –€” two sacks of Brady, three negative runs from Ridley and a negative catch from Vereen. On the season, New England has run 211 plays from scrimmage, and 13 of them have gone for negative yardage, not including kneeldowns. …  Against the Raiders, the Patriots ran 71 plays, nine of them in no-huddle (7.9 percent). In addition, 20 of their 71 snaps (28 percent) were in shotgun formation. … On the season, the Patriots have run 19 of their 211 plays out of no-huddle (9 percent) and 67 snaps in shotgun (32 percent). By way of comparison, over the course of the 2013 regular season, the Patriots were in shotgun for 42 percent of their offensive snaps and they ran no-huddle on 11 percent of their snaps. … Dating back to the end of the 2013 regular season (and not including the preseason), Brady has now completed 104 passes without an interception. … With his 20 touches on Sunday, Ridley has now gone 118 touches (dating back to the 2013 regular season, but not including the preseason) without losing a fumble. … Sunday marked the first game of the season where the Patriots’ offense was able to string together four drives of 10-plus plays. The 15-play drive (which ended with the lone touchdown of the game) was longest offensive series of season. … Over the last four years, here’s a look at the points per game average for the Patriots over the course of the first three games of the season:

— 2011: 104 (34.6 per game)
— 2012: 82 (27.3 per game)
— 2013: 59 (19.7 per game)
— 2014: 66 (22 per game)

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Pressure Points: Which Patriots defenders have done best job getting after QB?

09.23.14 at 8:30 am ET
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Chandler Jones

Chandler Jones

Every week over the course of the 2014 season, we’€™€™€™ll€™€ provide a look at the Patriots pass rush numbers. Like all stats, the numbers have to be placed on context of game-situations and personnel. And while sacks can be overrated, when evaluated as part of a bigger picture that includes quarterback hits and quarterback pressures (the latter courtesy of Pro Football Focus), it should provide a good picture as to which defenders are consistently able to get after the quarterback. Currently, the Patriots are tied for ninth in the league in sacks with seven. Based on the official NFL game books and PFF, here’€™€™€™€™€™s a look at the pass-rush numbers for the Patriots after three games for the 2014 regular season:

Sacks (via gamebooks)
LB Dont’€™a Hightower: 2 (22 yards)
DE Chandler Jones: 2 (7 yards)
DE Rob Ninkovich: 1 (10 yards)
LB Jerod Mayo: 1 (9 yards)
DB Kyle Arrington: 1 (0 yards)

Quarterback Hits (via gamebooks)
LB Dont’€™€™a Hightower: 4
DE Rob Ninkovich: 3
DE Chandler Jones: 3
LB Jerod Mayo: 2

Quarterback Hurries (via PFF)
DE Chandler Jones: 6
LB Jerod Mayo: 5
LB/DE Rob Ninkovich: 4
LB Dont’€™€™a Hightower: 4
DL Sealver Siliga: 2
DL Joe Vellano: 2
DL Vince Wilfork: 2
DL Chris Jones: 1
DL Dominique Easley: 1
DB Tavon Wilson: 1

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Tracking opportunities in Patriots passing game

09.23.14 at 7:00 am ET
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Targets have been compiled by the NFL since the start of the 2009 season, and while it remains a vaguely imperfect stat ‘€” a badly thrown ball from a quarterback can often go against the record of the receiver as opposed to the quarterback ‘€” it remains a good indication of the confidence level a passer might have in his pass catcher. Here’€™€™s a look at the target breakdown after three regular-season games this year.

WR Julian Edelman: 22 catches on 28 targets
TE Rob Gronkowski: 11 catches on 23 targets
RB Shane Vereen: 10 catches on 16 targets
WR Kenbrell Thompkins: 6 catches on 11 targets
WR Brandon LaFell: 4 catches on 14 targets
TE Tim Wright: 4 catches on 5 targets
WR Danny Amendola: 3 catches on 7 targets
RB Stevan Ridley: 3 catches on 3 targets
FB James Develin: 2 catches on 2 targets
RB Brandon Bolden: 1 catch on 3 targets
WR Aaron Dobson: 1 catch on 2 targets
TE Michael Hoomananwanui: 1 catch on 1 target

Read More: targets,

4 thoughts on performance of Darrelle Revis against Oakland

09.23.14 at 1:11 am ET
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Darrelle Revis went head-to-head with James Jones for much of the day Sunday. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Darrelle Revis went head-to-head with James Jones for much of the day Sunday. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

With the understanding that the all-22 game film (which is usually made available sometime on Tuesday) could shed some more light on how his afternoon went, here are a few preliminary notes on Darrelle Revis‘ performance Sunday against the Raiders.

— By our unscientific count, Revis played 58 snaps on the afternoon. He was lined up on the left side 34 times, and on the right for 24 snaps. Rookie quarterback Derek Carr threw in his direction seven times, and completed five passes for 63 total yards, with one of the incompletions coming on a pair of offsetting penalties. Carr clearly wasn’t intimidated by Revis, throwing two key passes in his direction in the fourth quarter with the game in the balance. (One of those was completed along the Oakland — more on that shortly — and another fell incomplete.)

— Veteran James Jones did most of the damage against Revis, catching three passes for 43 yards. The sweetest connection of the afternoon came late in the fourth quarter — on Oakland’s final drive of the day, Carr delivered an impressive back-shoulder throw to Jones along the Raiders sideline for an 18-yard pickup that was as nice a throw-and-catch as we’ve seen all season, given the situation. Jones added a 13-harder over the middle, and had a 12-yard pickup on an out route. (Jones did not catch anything else when matched up with anyone else all day.)

— One thing that did catch our eye as it relates to Revis: the Patriots moved him from one side to another all afternoon, and matched him up on various receivers throughout the day, including Rod Streater (who had one catch for nine yards on Revis in the early going) and Denarius Moore (who also had an 11-yard reception when matched against Revis). However, on Oakland’s final drive, he appeared to be almost solely focused on going head-to-head with Jones. On the Raiders last eight plays, he was against Jones on five occasions, including matching up with him in the slot on one play while Logan Ryan went against Andre Holmes on the outside. (That was the play where Ryan was flagged for pass interference.)

— By our count, through three weeks, Revis has yielded eight catches on 16 targets for 103 yards, with one interception and three pass breakups. (We’ll have more after watching the all-22 when it’s released, which we’ll include in the weekly edition of the “Revis Report.”)

Read More: Darrelle Revis, James Jones,

Despite improvement vs. Raiders, Patriots still caught in flag daze

09.22.14 at 10:07 pm ET
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Bill Belichick has been less than thrilled at the amount of penalties this year. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Bill Belichick has been less than thrilled at the amount of penalties this year. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

For a Bill Belichick team, the numbers are astounding.

Through the first three games of the season, the Patriots have been flagged for 30 penalties and 322 yards (not counting penalties that were declined or offset). New England is third in the league in penalties incurred (the Niners are first with 36, followed by the Steelers at 31), and leads the league in most penalty yardage (the Rams are second at 305).

Following 15 penalties in their second regular-season game against the Vikings — the most for any Belichick team in one game — the Patriots managed to cut back slightly Sunday against Oakland, finishing with six for 95 yards.

“It was one of the best things we did [Sunday],”€ Belichick said after the narrow escape against the Raiders. “We had fewer penalties in all three phases of the game. That was certainly a positive. We need to play more that way. It wasn’€™t perfect, but that was an improvement in all three areas.”

There was a marked improvement across the board, but at the same time, if the 2014 Patriots stay on their current pace, they’€™ll finish the year with 160 penalties and 1,717 penalty yards. That would set a mark for a Belichick-coached Patriots team (the 2003 team had 111 penalties and 998 penalty yards) and break the franchise record for penalties in a season (114, set in 1985) and most penalty yards in a season (1,051, set in 1992). It also would set an NFL record — the current league mark is 158 penalties, set by the 1998 Chiefs.

The penalties are all the more remarkable considering the fact that the Patriots were one of the least-penalized teams in the league last season when they took 69 penalties for 625 penalty yards, finishing second to the Colts in fewest total penalties and third in least penalty yards, trailing only Indy and Miami. It’€™s also interesting that all of this has taken place without cornerback Brandon Browner, who has been serving his four-game suspension to start the year. In his career with the Seahawks, Browner established a knack for physical. punishing play, but it was a style that drew plenty of attention from officials. He took five penalties in eight games in 2013, and he was flagged for 10 in 2012.
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Read More: Bill Belichick, Logan Ryan,

Vince Wilfork on D&H: Patriots ‘haven’t played our best game yet’

09.22.14 at 9:12 pm ET
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Patriots defensive tackle Vince Wilfork joined Dale & Holley on Monday to discuss the Patriots’€™ 16-9 win over the Raiders. To hear the interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.

With the Raiders driving deep into Patriots territory at the end of the game, Wilfork helped close out the New England victory with a key interception — the third of his career. Two of his interceptions have come against Oakland.

“That play I caught it, but that play probably wouldn’t have been possible without my teammates,” Wilfork said of the interception. “I just happened to be there to catch it. That’€™s the main thing.”

Continued Wilfork: “It was something I thought I was going to be able to get. I didn’t know when, but I actually called it earlier this year. I think going into this past week, I was talking to Chandler [Jones] and I told him, ‘€˜I think I have one coming soon.’€™ A little vision I had. Some call vision that I saw in my sleep. A little birdie tapped me on the shoulder and was like, ‘€˜You’€™ll be ready.’ ”

The Patriots defense allowed nine points to Oakland on Sunday and just 16 combined in the last two weeks. Wilfork said the defense still has room for improvement throughout the season.

“We haven’€™t played our best game yet, it has yet to come,” Wilfork said. “The more we practice at it, the more consistent we become, I think you’€™ll see the defense play a lot better. It’€™s just one of those things each week where you have to continue to just grind away. Things we make mistakes of, correct them and move forward. And get better each day. I think that’€™s one thing we have done from the first week to now. We’ve gotten better each week. And that’€™s the only thing you can ask for. It’€™s still early in the season.”

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